Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

This forum is for anyone seeking advice on starting a collegiate team, branching out into new types of tournaments, or other "how-to" aspects of collegiate quizbowl.
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Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:52 am

This topic is about the on-campus portion of quizbowl team organization: how to get new members, how to fund a team, and when and how to practice.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by ClemsonQB » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:13 am

For recruiting, here is something Chris Ray recently mentioned to me:
On facebook, search everyone in your school's network (Clemson in my case) for "quizbowl", "academic team", "its academic" or whatever else is played locally. Chris said that this turned out a lot of results for him, and it did give me a few.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by TheCzarMan » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:44 am

I was wondering if there are any tips on recruiting at a commuter school, or if anyone has experience with a campus that has more than half of its students living off campus.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by First Chairman » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:58 am

Find out what support you get with your student government and student activities groups. Especially for campuses with a large proportion of commuter students, you need to gauge how your program will help create the "student community" they seek to build. Find out when club fairs are held. See if there are honors programs you can tap into for publicity or support.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:57 pm

I will second the facebook search idea, since I'm in the middle of starting a team I found something like 10 people on facebook who have expressed interest in showing up for practices just to see what's going on, which can hopefully translate in some of them liking it and sticking around. As for funding, I think it works differently from campus to campus, but you need to be sure to email your campus activities office and find out all the stuff you have to do to get official recognition, because once you have recognition you're eligible to do all kinds of stuff like host tournaments and get official funding. I had no idea there was so many steps that could be involved until I emailed them and set up a meeting last week.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Auroni » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:51 pm

For recruiting, I was lucky enough to find the president of the defunct "UCSD quizbowl club", who then gave me a bunch of email addresses of people who he tried to contact in the past but was unable to do so. so with that, and two other people I knew from beforehand that were involved in quizbowl, I held an IRC informational meeting of sorts where I explained what the game was like. Fortunately, nobody wanted out. Next challenge is to find a room to practice in and to buy a buzzer system. I think I'm going to do the latter by myself.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:59 pm

My Student Life Office has been very accommodating in terms of helping to get funding, and may even be getting us a buzzer set or helping us with travel and tournament fees. Try to talk to these people and pique their interest in giving you money that the anime club would otherwise just use to buy more DVDs from the activities budget.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by theattachment » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:14 pm

For recruiting, look in to sending out postcards to all of the students that live in the dorms. Depending on your student life committee, they may be really receptive to it. If they are, charge a bunch of pizzas to your budget (10 should suffice) and use that as the first meeting's draw. Chances are that you'll get about 20 people that want pizza, but five to ten that genuinely want to be there.

For your first practice, again, talk to Student Life about getting two rooms in the student union or a meeting room in one of the larger dorms. Having two rooms helps by letting experienced players a chance to practice on realistic-level questions (ones that would be used in your next tournament) while letting the new kids practice on either easier questions to get them accustomed to the buzzer or having them on the same questions without getting killed. It also lets them listen to more clues as they get accustomed to the canon.

Fundraising is the devil that must be avoided at all costs. When it becomes unavoidable, again, Student Life likely has resources like selling concessions at games (which gets you in when your student tickets can't), rooms available for movies, etc. The best tool, however, is running tournaments at either the high school or college level. College level tournaments let you get your rookies accustomed to reading packets, seeing full questions, and gives you experience when you want to look into writing a tournament for yourself. High school tournaments don't necessarily give you the canonical experience, but they do help in recruiting players for the future.

Finally, the biggest tool a new college program has is the quiz bowl community. There is a huge wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to organizing tournaments, setting up programs, and all of the growing pains that new teams have to deal with. Use it.
Colin O'Donnell -- ex-Eden Prairie High School (man, that feels nice to say), eventually University of Minnesota

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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Mike Bentley » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:50 am

So I tried a bunch of different methods to recruit people to the UW team (flyers, facebook ads, facebook messages, etc.) Turns out the most effective method by far was getting a department to e-mail students on their mailing list. So, I suggest all people trying to recruit more people to the club to try this method.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by powerplant » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:29 pm

My team at Centre is very small (five people), and as such probably won't get a lot of school funding. What are your tips for fund raising? I know that hosting tournaments is supposed to be the best way to raise money but I don't think I'd have enough staff to run a large field. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:17 pm

powerplant wrote:My team at Centre is very small (five people), and as such probably won't get a lot of school funding. What are your tips for fund raising? I know that hosting tournaments is supposed to be the best way to raise money but I don't think I'd have enough staff to run a large field. Thanks in advance.
You could maybe host an intramural tournament or a student/faculty match and sell tickets. I've heard that's worked in the past, and would require minimum staffing.
Mike Bentley
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by CobraCuz89 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:19 pm

What do you all do at practices? Can you talk about your practice layout and schedule?
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:28 pm

CobraCuz89 wrote:What do you all do at practices? Can you talk about your practice layout and schedule?
Most time is taken up by one member going on the Stanford Archive and reading packets (assuming there is a computer in the room; alternatively, you could read hard copies of packets), and the others buzz in and answer. You can keep score for each individual, or you could split the team in two and play a round. Rotate readers for every packet you read: this gives everyone practice for both playing and moderating.

Before practicing off the archive, you should take care of any administrative issues like deciding what tournaments to go to, organizing your own tournament, electing officers, etc.

fsb
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Erasmus » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:56 am

As far as practicing and preparing for tournaments, are all packets equal? I just formed a team this month at my school and we are just now starting to have regular practices. Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by some of the stanford packets and we often end up reading alot of very long questions that no one has any idea as to the answer. Many of the people in the club like the idea of quiz team and they are enthusiastic about playing, but we still need work to get comfortable. Does anyone have any suggestions on any material out there that might be a stepping stone to the stanford packets? Or, what is the best way to encourage the members of my team to study material without outright requiring them to do so (I don't want to require it, because then I will scare away everyone I have)? We have some good players and some moderate players, then an equal amount who don't know much of anything; this is hurting us, as I have gone from 16 members on my team to 7 at the last practice. If we stick w/ less than 10 for awhile, I'll lose my University Sponsorship...
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by powerplant » Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:17 am

The Centre team hasn't really had this problem. We've been practicing ACF Fall mostly, our one experiment with Regionals didn't go that well. Do many of your teammates have experience with playing before? When we played the Regs packet, only the people had had played before were buzzing.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:44 am

Erasmus wrote:As far as practicing and preparing for tournaments, are all packets equal? I just formed a team this month at my school and we are just now starting to have regular practices. Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by some of the stanford packets and we often end up reading alot of very long questions that no one has any idea as to the answer...
Look for tournaments labeled as "novice" or "juniorbird" or possibly even "high school". Try rotating between these packets and packets from tournaments not labeled so.

As far as learning new material goes, NAQT's You Gotta Know is useful for building a sort of framework for learning new stuff, but definitely should not be your only source of new information for the college game.

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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:06 pm

If we stick w/ less than 10 for awhile, I'll lose my University Sponsorship...
I think you're taking that requirement a little too seriously. Almost everywhere I've seen, there are ways to convince your friends to put their name down if you can't get 10 members.
Does anyone have any suggestions on any material out there that might be a stepping stone to the stanford packets?
Well, on the Stanford Archive there are packets at all levels of the game, so it's kind of hard to claim there is a "Stanford" difficulty. You might want to go to collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com and try things like ACF Fall tournaments, Early Fall Tournaments #2 and #3, the Minnesota Undergrad Tournament, the last 2 Illinois Novice tournaments, and Zot bowl. I think those packets all cover the modern novice tournament scene and should hopefully be both accessible to newer players and teach them stuff that will come up later in their playing careers. Also, if you can get your hand on some of the recent NAQT division 2 sets, those would probably be appropriate as well (those are for purchase on their website). In any case, these packets are all probably the lowest level that I can feel comfortable recommending for a college team to practice on. I will disagree with Farrah's recommendation to play HS questions, since there are lots of things about HS sets that don't mix well with college quizbowl. It would be unfair to read high school questions to a new team and then expect that to be an effective way to prepare for college tournaments, because I think that will ultimately drive more people away when they realize college questions are longer than 4 lines long and ask about things that don't come up in HS. Considering the proliferation of good entry level college sets, I don't see a reason not to focus on those until you get a club that is comfortable playing QB and then moving up to stuff like regionals or nationals, depending on what you are preparing for.
As for players getting discouraged, I've been encountering some of the same, and I would recommend driving home the point that tons of people who are new to college come in at the same level and end up being good players if they stick with it. As time goes on, answers and clues will keep coming up more and more until they are suddenly basic knowledge for players - luckily, in practice I decided to switch back and forth between a few sets, and my teammates have seen firsthand what I'm talking about because of that. I think that if your teammates figure out that if they don't know something in questions, they will probably hear it again if it's important, and that in some short time if they keep coming to practice, start reading some packets on their own, and try writing some questions, these sets will stop seeming so inaccessible. I agree, requiring team members to study is over the top, but I think if you make sure to let everyone know that no one is expecting them to know everything and all of those other points, you will eventually develop a group who wants to get good at quizbowl. I guess look forward to your team in a couple of years instead of getting immediate results is all I can recommend beyond that.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Cheynem » Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:29 pm

As a "new" player to collegiate quiz bowl (I'm a grad student, but haven't played since high school), I really can't stress the importance of just hearing a lot of high-quality packets/questions in a competitive format. It seems daunting and difficult at first, but as time goes on, it's surprising to remember what sticks with you. I agree with Charlie that using high school questions really only creates a false sense of what quiz bowl is about.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:03 pm

Also, taking classes on a subject that interests you can help, like how I took one on music history in the spring. Obviously you can't force people to do that, but it's definitely an option to consider for people who want to get better/learn stuff for the heck of it.

fsb, conceding that reading HS packets might not be a good idea
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:08 pm

Also, this is directed at A.J., but any new team can benefit from it - the more teams start attending tournaments, the more used to the game you get. If someone in your club has a car, I would highly recommend taking as many people as you can to this year's ACF Fall tournament, which should be an entry level set appropriate for new players. The announcement is here, and there are sites both within an evening's drive of you in Knoxville and Pittsburgh. I think if you can start taking people out to tournaments, their willingness to keep doing quizbowl will increase when they actually see it first hand being done.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by CobraCuz89 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:57 pm

What else do you guys do for fundraising?

As far as running a high school tournament for fundraising, how does that work? Where would we get high school questions? How can we contact other high school teams?
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:06 pm

CobraCuz89 wrote:As far as running a high school tournament for fundraising, how does that work? Where would we get high school questions? How can we contact other high school teams?
1) Find a date a few months from now when you can get rooms at your school and have sufficient staff available. Start with a small event (12 to 24 teams depending on what you can staff). Consult existing guides and the wisdom of the board on the specific logistics of the running the event.

2) If there is any high school quizbowl within 100 miles of you, then figure out which schools do it and send them letters. If you are trying to build interest from scratch, start by finding high schools in your area who do anything at all that might interest them in quizbowl, and send them letters explaining what this is and inviting them. Science Bowl, KMO, Academic Decathlon, anything like that is a place to start. Basically, the process involves finding the names of teams who have participated in past events and then pulling their school addresses off the Internet. If you get a regular tradition of high school events going, then you may be able to move to mostly e-mail communication in the future, but you should expect to be sending things through the USPS for the time being if you want to get the attention of most high school coaches.

3) You should get your questions from either NAQT or HSAPQ. Every other high school quizbowl vendor is unfathomably terrible. You will pay somewhere between ten and twenty dollars per team for use of the questions depending on which company you use and what sort of questions you get.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:12 pm

It's worth noting that Nevada falls under NAQT's free high school questions for expansion states program.
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Re: Recruiting, fundraising, & practicing

Post by CobraCuz89 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:22 pm

Thanks Matt, I'll start making letters for nearby high schools. & thanks Jeff, I'll contact NAQT for their program. :grin:
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